Listmania: Six Recently Bookmarked/ 12 Existing Tags

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Naomi Watts *  Oliver Stone * Owen Wilson * Patrick Leigh Fermor * Paul Theroux * Peter Sarsgaard * Pico Iyer * Rebecca West * Ruth Rendell * Sarah Waters * Siquijor * Tom Hiddleston

Books for the Reading List: A Look at Niece G’s Stash

When Niece G left San Francisco to work in New York, and then moved again, this time to Manila, she left a Big. Fat. Read the rest of this entry »

Contrasts 7: Light and Shadow, Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Parade (2014)

Citi Pub, Broadway Ave., downtown Redwood City:  We always go there for a beer after the Fourth of July Parade is over.

Citi Pub, Broadway Ave., downtown Redwood City: Self and The Man always wind up here after the Fourth of July Parade is over.

There’s more of the light-and-shadow thing going on in the next two shots.  In the one just below, self focused on the feet of the members of the Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band.  They participate in the Redwood City Fourth of July Parade, every year.

The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band! Self loves that every year, they participate in the Redwood City Parade and play "All Right Now."

Self loves when the Stanford Band plays “All Right Now,”  their signature song.  Compared to the other bands, they sport VERY casual attire.  She once heard someone describe them as “a bunch of hooligans.”

Another parade regular are the horses.  These are city officials, self thinks.

Another parade regular are the horses. These are city officials, self thinks.

Self is having so much fun with “Contrasts.”  Turns out that’s what summer light is all about.  In summer, and particularly in mid-day, the difference between sunlight and shade is very dramatic.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Contrasts 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Examples of CONTRASTS from artwork currently on exhibit at the Cantor Art Center, Stanford University campus.

ALL artists succeed by working off contrasts:  contrasts of color, contrasts of shapes, contrasts of mediums (mixed media, collages, and so forth), contrasts of texture.

Here are three of self’s favorites:  Julian Schnabel.  Wayne Thiebaud.  Frank Stella.

Julian Schnabel, USA, b. 1951:  "Portrait of Hope Makler, 1989" at Cantor Art Center, Stanford campus

Julian Schnabel, USA, b. 1951: “Portrait of Hope Makler, 1989″ at Cantor Art Center, Stanford campus

Wayne Thiebaud, USA, b. 1920:  "Lunch Table, 1964" at Cantor Art Center, Stanford campus

Wayne Thiebaud, USA, b. 1920: “Lunch Table, 1964″ at Cantor Art Center, Stanford campus

Frank Stella, USA, b. 1936:  "Nightgown 1990" (On wall)

Frank Stella, USA, b. 1936: “Nightgown 1990″ (On wall)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Twist 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Shortly before leaving for Ireland, self wandered over to the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford campus, where she took these shots.  Gerald B. Cantor, who donated the funds, was someone self interviewed when she was just a lowly student reporter for The Stanford Daily.  You can actually see her byline if you go all the way back to the year the Cantor Art Center was opened.

The interview happened this way.  Mr. Cantor himself was standing on the steps of the Art Center.  A crush of reporters were holding microphones up to his face and yelling questions.  Since self is rather petite, barely even five feet tall, she was all the way in the back.  But she did have the perspicacity to yell, at the top of her lungs, STANFORD DAILY!

Mr. Cantor held up his hand.  Everyone fell silent.  Then he looked over at the crowd of reporters and asked, “Who said Stanford Daily?”  And self piped up, from all the way in the back, “I did.”

And he said, “Let her through.”

And the crowd of reporters parted.  And self, blushing furiously, was ushered all the way to the front.

And that, honest to God, is how self got to shake the great man’s hand.

Many, many years later, self thought of him again, because the Cantor Fitzgerald management company occupied the top three floors of one of the World Trade Center buildings, and sekf heard that the firm lost a stupefying 1,600 of its employees on 9/11.

Rodin Sculpture Garden, on the Stanford campus

Rodin Sculpture Garden, on the Stanford campus

A giant head in the Rodin Sculpture Garden (Behind is one of the engineering buildings)

A giant head in the Rodin Sculpture Garden (Behind is one of the engineering buildings, and they’re getting ready to add yet another)

Still another from the Rodin Sculpture Garden

Still another from the Rodin Sculpture Garden

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Monument 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is MONUMENT.

Self took a whole lot of pictures when she dropped by the Cantor Arts Center, a couple of weeks ago, on the Stanford University campus.

Rodin’s sculpture of Adam is standing to one side of probably his most favorite work, the Gates of Hell.  But self didn’t have a good picture of the Gates, so she turned to perusing her photo archives.

And she found these from the Miami Holocaust Memorial, which she and The Man visited last November.

Adam:  Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford University

Adam: Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford University

Holocaust Memorial, South Beach, Miami

Holocaust Memorial, South Beach, Miami

Detail, Holocaust Memorial, South Beach, Miami

Detail, Miami Holocaust Memorial

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Stairs: Threshold 5, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self loves her writers group.  Here we are, ascending the steps to jay's place.

Self loves her writers group. Here are Caroline and Grace, ascending the steps to Jay’s place.

Entrance to the Bechtel International Center on the Stanford campus:  Self bought her first bike here.

Entrance to the Bechtel International Center on the Stanford campus: Self bought her first bike here, eons ago.

Venice, April 2013:  Steps Leading to the Water (All steps in Venice eventually lead to the water)

Venice, April 2013: Steps Leading to the Water (ALL steps in Venice eventually lead to the water. Self liked the moss on this one, though)

Inside 8: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Daily Post Photo Challenge: “. . . photos of any of us inside anything else.”

Bought this painting from the hotel I stayed in, in Trieste.  It's by a Slovenian painter.

Self bought this painting in Trieste. It was hanging in her hotel room.  It’s by a Slovenian painter.  You can see her reflection in the glass.

A Chihuly, what else?  This one's in the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford Campus.  You can see my reflection in the glass.

A Chihuly, what else? This one’s in the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford Campus. You can see self’s reflection in the glass.

Self in Silhouette: the view from her room in the Seattle Sheraton, last month during the AWP conference.

Self in Silhouette: the view from her room in the Seattle Sheraton, last month during the AWP conference.

Buddha Mind

This afternoon is self’s Vinyasa Flow class.

It is soooo relaxing.

Self has been pondering taking a course on Buddhism.

For, as Japanese sage Hakuin Ekaku (1685 – 1768) once said:

To study Buddhism is to study yourself.  To study yourself is to forget yourself in each moment.  Then everything will come and help you.  Everything will ensure your enlightenment.

–  Nakahara Nantenbo (1839 – 1925)

She did actually ponder learning more about Buddhism, but there are so many things going on in her life at the moment.

Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying was a Buddhist, and a gentler soul never lived.  When she died in Tel Aviv, in 2008, self was heartbroken.  Her ashes are in the family crypt in Manila, but some are in a temple in Bangkok, per her instructions.

Ying!  She was so proud of self that she would carry around a copy of self’s books, and when people would ask what she was reading, she would show them.

Now that self is contemplating the Buddhism thing, she also remembers hearing about Shari Epstein, a former classmate at Stanford, who was said to have founded a city on the northern California coast.  A Buddhist, peaceful city.  What was its name?  Drat self and her horrible memory.  The City of 10,000 Buddhas?  Something like that?  In Ukiah?

She recalls, too, a teacher named David Nivison (whose books are all available on Amazon) who taught a class called Zen and Nothingness.  Can you believe actually taking a class like that?  Self recalls the first day:  there we were, Chinese Studies and Asian Languages students, scattered around the small classroom.  The professor enters:  a very very tall and a very very skinny man.  Without preamble, he opens his mouth and begins the lecture.

We students look at each other in dismay.  The teacher’s mouth is moving, but no one can hear anything.  Slowly — and as surreptitiously as possible — a few students begin moving closer to the front of the classroom.  By the end of that quarter, this is how the chairs were arranged:  Prof. Nivison seated at his desk facing the class, and all our chairs circled around his desk, some even touching the desk, and everyone straining their darndest to make sense out of this Zen and Nothingness which — don’t ask self to explain the concept, it’s something like the sound of one hand clapping.  She knows there was a midterm and a final, and she passed both. But she has no idea what she wrote, what she filled her Blue Book with. Her grade, she recalls, was a B.  Which was extremely kind of Prof. Nivison.

Back to the Buddha Mind!

When we are trying to be active and special and to accomplish something, we cannot express ourselves.  Small self will be expressed, but big self will not appear from the emptiness.  From the emptiness only great self appears.

Now synapses are firing like crazy in self’s brain, for she remembers the Abnegation faction in Divergent, which she made yet another attempt to read last night, before giving up and going back to re-reading Mockingjay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Quote of the Second Wednesday of February 2014: Rabindranath Tagore

Thinking about poetry this morning, and about the lecture last night at USF.  Saw Melissa Dale again.

Melissa is the Executive Director of the USF Center for the Pacific Rim and also an Assistant Professor at USF.  Decades ago — in 1991, to be exact — she was self’s student assistant in the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford.  Melissa took the picture of self that graces the back of self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila.  She lived on the East Coast for many years.

Eventually, Melissa and her two teen-aged daughters moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Life is so mysterious.  But self rejoiced at this chance to see her again.

The poem self is reading this morning is by Rabindranath Tagore.  It’s from Rabindranath Tagore:  Selected Poems, translated by William Radice (Penguin Modern Classics edition).  She doesn’t recall buying this book, so it was probably given to her by one of her friends.

The poem contrasts a young singer with an old, and resonates so much with self.

“Broken Song”

Kasinath the new young singer fills the hall with sound:
The seven notes dance in his throat like seven tame birds.
His voice is a sharp sword thrusting and slicing everywhere,
It darts like lightning — no knowing where it will go when.

He sets deadly traps for himself, then cuts them away:
The courtiers listen in amazement, give frequent gasps of praise.
Only the old king Pratap Ray sits like wood, unmoved.
Baraj Lal is the only singer he likes, all others leave him cold.
From childhood he has spent so long listening to him sing —
Rag Kafi during holi, cloud songs during the rains,
Songs for Durga at dawn in autumn, songs to bid her farewell —
His heart swelled when he heard them and his eyes swam with tears.
And on days when friends gathered and filled the hall
There were cowherds’ songs of Krishna, in rags Bhupali and Multan.

So many nights of wedding-festivity have passed in that royal house:
Servants dressed in red, hundreds of lamps alight:
The bridegroom sitting shyly in his finery and jewels,
Young friends teasing him and whispering in his ear:
Before him, singing rag Sahana, sits Baraj Lal.
The king’s heart is full of all those days and songs.
When he hears some other singer, he feels no chord inside,
No sudden magical awakening of memories of the past.
When Pratap Ray watches Kasinath he just sees his wagging head:
Tune after tune after tune, but none with any echo in the heart.

To fully appreciate the poem, self had to turn to the Glossary in the back of the book.

Holi, self learns, is “a Hindu spring and fertility festival, characterized by the joyous throwing of coloured powders and sprinkling of coloured liquid at people.”

There were some other interesting words in the glossary, words like:

Jambu:  “Large tree that sheds its leaves in January/February, has fragrant white flowers in March-May, and purplish black astringent fruit in June/July.”

Kacu:  “The taro, a coarse herbacious plant cultivated for its tubers”

Koel:  “A bird that is frequently called ‘cuckoo’ by translators but which is actually different from either the European cuckoo or the Indian cuckoo, though it belongs in the same family.”

Makara:  “Mythical sea monster, representing the Capricorn of the Hindu zodiac, with head and forelegs of a deer, and body and tail of a fish.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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